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Glamis On A Knobby? Bad Idea?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by corsachili, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. corsachili

    corsachili Misguided in all the best ways.

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    My riding buddy and I have been going to Ocotillo Wells for years now and this year we're thinking about going out to Imperial Sand Dunes/Glamis for a day. I'm a well-seasoned rider with many years of roadrace, flat track, big ADV, and street riding experience. I'm curious if I can expect to ride my KTM 450 XC/W on the dunes with a rear knobby instead of a paddle. My gut says it may be possible, but very frustrating. There's no doubt that a paddle is optimal, but should I even try it with a knobby on the rear? My experience even on Blow Sand Hill (at Ocotillo) is that knobbies in the sand = lots of work for rider and engine.

    I appreciate your advice.

    -tj in the Cruz Mtns
    #1
  2. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    If you stay in the flats and smaller dunes you might be ok.. If it has rained recently and with some strong winds the sand packs for better traction.

    Steep slope dunes facing the sun with ultra dry sand and un-tracked will be like powder and more difficult.

    If you are a lighter weight rider it will help.

    Air down.. way down.. I'd run as close to zero as possible.. maybe under 5 psi for sure especially if you run tubliss. Use caution going over anything you can't see beyond the top side.. witches eyes hurt. Doesn't hurt to use a low ratio gear set.. 13/50. Stiffen up the compression on the front forks and slow the rebound on the rear shock to keep the weight bias back when slowing down or having to brake.

    You are nearing the end of the season for Glamis. Flag up and take pics! If I lived in that part of the nation I'd go with a knob on my 501 without hesitation.
    #2
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  3. DualDawg

    DualDawg Been here a while

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    Done it a handful up of times with no issues. Maybe a little harder to get going. And yes, may drop a few more times if you go to slow on the deep stuff, but wouldn’t hesitate to do it again! Go for it. Done it on a paddle as well. Have fun. TOTAL BLAST!
    #3
  4. breakdirt916

    breakdirt916 CA PLATED 94 YZ250 2-STROKE

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    Which size rear tire ya run?

    I have a 19” used paddle you can have for free...mission motorsports has Em on clearance since they’re closing too

    But in terms of a knobbie, I’d recommend it.just bear in mind I am a pretty big noobie and a knobbie was a comfort zone for me; so I couldn’t really take advantage of a paddle anyways...especially on a 250 2-stroke
    #4
  5. corsachili

    corsachili Misguided in all the best ways.

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    Thanks for the feedback and encouragement guys. Thanks also to breakdirt for the offer of the paddle. My riding partner lives only a couple hours from Borrego Springs and Imperial, whereas my drive is considerably longer (8 hours). In a perfect world I’d have two rear wheels, one with a knob and one with a paddle, and swap them in as appropriate. We don’t need paddles at Ocotillo so I can’t put a paddle on and do both. It’ll have to be the knobby. I’ll see how it goes and let y’all know.

    -tj in the Cruz Mtns
    #5
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  6. cobra46

    cobra46 Been here awhile

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    I've ridden sand with a knobbie many times. It can be ok if the knobbie is fresh or as mentioned the sand is a bit moist. Dry sand at Glamis is like powder

    When we do a Dumont trip, which has dunes and trails, we change tires mid trip for the alternate terrain. We typically start with paddles and change to knobbies as that change is easier.
    #6
  7. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    corsachili~ Since you've tried Blow Sands on knobbies, have you tried Devil's Slide in Rockotillo?
    I think you'll be ok in Circus Glamis, as long as you keep your speeds up so you can plane on the top of the sand.

    Just be glad you aren't going to attempt this on a BMW GS...(OR a Harley, LOL!)
    #7
  8. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

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    I need to travel over an do a Dumont trip, I hear it is great knobbie or paddle!
    #8
  9. vintageveloce

    vintageveloce Been here awhile

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    I'm the buddy who is dragging corsachili out there next week. It's kind of a recon expedition.
    So is the sand like the stuff on Blow Sand Hill or just NorthEast of Devil's Slide in Ocotillo Wells?
    Or is it more like the lighter finer stuff you find in patches blown across the trails sometimes?
    #9
  10. cobra46

    cobra46 Been here awhile

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    I would not categorize any dunes as great with a knobbie. If the sand is dry, my 525 usually can not make it all the way up comp hill with a knobbie. With a paddle I can ride a wheelie all the way up it.
    #10
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  11. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    You can have fun with a knobby - I did. But you have to pick and chose where you stop/start more carefully. Hopefully, it's a new knobby. I'd start with 4 psi and see how it goes. Carry an extra tube
    #11
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  12. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    What about a rear knobby made for sand bias?

    Kenda K782 ($65)
    [​IMG]

    Michelin Starcross 5 Sand (this might not last even on hard dirt)
    [​IMG]

    Michelin Starcross 5 Soft Terrain
    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. breakdirt916

    breakdirt916 CA PLATED 94 YZ250 2-STROKE

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    I have the starcross sand tire...it was better than a knobbie but worse than a paddle

    I have one for sale - only used 1 ride a Pismo
    #13
  14. FJKai

    FJKai Off Road Lurker

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    You'll still have fun with a knobby, it'll be all about keeping your speed up and always stopping facing down hill. I won't be as fun as on being on a paddle tire, but riding in the sand dunes on a dirt bike is awesome and one of my favorites (as long as I have a paddle). You'll struggle on the big hills and super deep bowls, but you'll eventually figure out how to attack and approach these. Two strokes are king in the sand as wheel spin is what you need vs 4 stroke torque, but you'll still have fun. You are going to work the hell out of your engine so change the oil when you get home.
    #14
  15. cobra46

    cobra46 Been here awhile

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    That's a good point. Bring twice as much fuel as you do for dirt. You will be full throttle or no throttle all day.

    Also never go straight over the top of a dune. The standard procedure is to go straight up a hill then turn at an angle before cresting a dune. This is to help prevent head on collisions. Inevitably you will see some jackwad not doing this. Don't be that guy.
    #15
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  16. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    The other thing about gas - maybe bring a little octane boost or get some race gas if you can. Run the highest octane you can find as the sand can really make your engine ping especially if you lug it.
    #16
  17. First Gear Feet Down

    First Gear Feet Down Been here awhile

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    It’s glamis, run a paddle. Worth the money. Don’t be that guy that shows up without one.
    #17
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  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I am unclear about the trip to get there. Is the OP bringing a bike in a pickup, or riding the bike 8 hours?

    If bringing the bike in a pickup, I agree with First Gear Feet Down. Do everything you can to get an extra wheel with a paddle mounted on it. It really does make a big difference.



    I remember the time I brought my 1983 Honda XL600R to Pismo. I robbed the 18" rear wheel off my XL250 and mounted a paddle on it. If I hadn't done that, the Big Red Pig would not have gotten very far. With the paddle, I was King of the Mountain (or Comp Hill, as it were). Off the throttle=plowing. On the throttle=ROOOST BABY!!! :clap
    #18
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  19. socalnative

    socalnative Been here awhile

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    I found it easier to ride my RM250Z than my XR650R with knobbies at Glamis. I have also rode both with paddles and I still liked the lightness of the RM on the sand. But the XR was unstoppable.
    #19
  20. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    Paddle for sure

    don’t forget your whip, and make sure you have a light stick on it for night rips.
    #20